Pandora's Box

Chapter 9

Nearly hyperventilating, Goku tried desperately to think of a way to save Vegeta. His heart pounded hard, his body aching in response to the new adrenaline rush. He looked down at the brunette and felt his throat tighten to the point where air barely passed through. He probably would've vomited, had he the strength, from not only gruesomeness of the injury, but also from the threat of losing Vegeta who he'd already almost lost before. Frustrated and nearly in a panic, Goku released a sharp howl, nuzzling his face against the prince. Burying his face into Vegeta's neck, Piccolo's words tauntingly whispered, replaying in his mind, 'Well, for one who's denying attraction I find it interesting how one will blush at the notion, yet not at the fact of being naked in front of others.' Goku was able to restrain a sob from escaping his battered body as he froze, realizing something he had forgotten in the fury of the battle. Piccolo. He had told Piccolo to get senzu beans. "PICCOLO!" Goku screamed, his voice ragged, his throat dry, "PICCOLO!!" Shakily forcing himself, the younger Saijin began to push himself to his feet, ignoring the various broken bones that wanted nothing more than to suffer without movement. Whimpering, the black-haired man half-limped half-crawled towards the Namek who looked like he was barely breathing. "Pi-Piccolo," Goku tried his best to call for his friend again, but his lungs felt thick, unable to gain enough air like when you try to breathe through a straw.

Collapsing to his knees in front of the Namek, Goku nudged the prone figure, "Piccolo...the..senzus..." Piccolo's eyes opened slightly, two thin slits looked up at the Super Saijin. With a grunt the Namek fumbled around and shakily handed a small brown pouch to Goku. "Eat," Goku commanded, pushing a bean past Piccolo's lips, getting up once he noticed the Namek chewing. Racing back over to Vegeta's side he checked the older man's pulse, relieved to find that it was still there, no matter how faint it was. 'Vegeta, wake up! I have a senzu bean, Vegeta!' Goku mentally called out, popping one into his mouth he began to chew. 'VEGETA!' Goku's mental screams were loud enough to wake the dead, or near dead in this case. The prince made a tiny, almost inaudible, sound, though it was evident that he wouldn't be able to swallow anything anytime soon as it seemed he was having enough difficulty breathing.

Without hesitation, Goku tipped Vegeta's head back and opened the prince's mouth. With a small breath Goku sealed his mouth over the prince's trying to coax the crushed senzu down Vegeta's throat, not thinking of how the act would seem intimate to the outside observer. When the small brunette made a louder sound Goku withdrew himself, breathing deeply as he watched the horrible wound repair itself. 'Oh thank god..' Goku thought to himself, closing his eyes for a moment to regain his bearings. The soft pad of footsteps caused Goku to turn his attention away from the smaller Saijin. Piccolo spoke softly, extending his hand, "I'll heal the others." The black-haired man gave a nod, handing the pouch back to it's owner who immediately ran to the nearest person.

Blinking hard for a few times, Vegeta tried to understand what was going on. Just a few moments before he had felt so cold, yet comfortably numb, willingly falling into darkness, and now, the sun's rays were shining down upon him, warming his skin. His vision focused, pain no longer coursing through him, and curious, he ran his hand down his chest and across his stomach, not entirely surprised to not find as much as a scratch. He looked to his side, noticing that he was not alone, "Kakkarot.." Goku smiled weakly, scratching the side of his head nervously. Vegeta pushed himself up into a sitting position, licking his dry lips to taste the blood that was still there. Only after noticing this did he examine himself - his shirt was ruined as it now attributed a large hole as well as a large amount of his blood, the rest of his outfit, however, seemed perfectly unscathed and in good condition. Taking a deep breath, the prince's tail curled partly, the tip beginning it's twitching in uncertainty. "You are such an idiot, Kakkarot," Vegeta declared, taking himself to his feet. Goku frowned and stood up as well, "Vegeta-" The prince threw up his hand, "No. Stop. Now." Goku faltered for something to say or do, feeling discouraged by Vegeta's behavior. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again," Vegeta declared, trying to rub some blood off of his face and neck, "You're so incredibly moronic I can't even begin to describe it." Goku's expression fell, not even trying to resist the frown that came to his face; he had defiantly not expected Vegeta to act like this, especially now.

"I thought you couldn't get any stupider," the prince stated, brushing the dirt off of his clothes, "but obviously I was wrong." Goku sighed deeply, taking a step toward the older Saijin, "Vegeta.." The brunette stepped away, running a hand through his hair, his tail curling around his waist, "You expect me to be different, don't you? You want me to be a stupid hero, don't you?" Goku shook his head, "No, no, Vegeta, I-" The shorter man interrupted him again, "You think I did all that to save your lame ass!? Well you're wrong! I did it all for me because I wanted the glory! I'm not a weakling like you all believe!" A voice cut through the air like an arrow, "Oh god! Would you please shut up!? I can't stand any more of your melodrama!" Goku grit his teeth slightly in frustration, trying his best not to get upset, "Zarbon, just stay out of this." The alien tosses his ponytail over his shoulder, out of the way, "Don't think you're special, Goku, he'd always say these speeches back in the day." The younger Saijin furrowed his eyebrows, his fists clenching, "Zarbon-" Vegeta shouted out of the taller man, partly because he wanted to purposely disrespect Goku, "Don't even get me started on you, Zarbon! You're not a perfect little angel like you make yourself out to be!"

Trunks sat up with the aid of Piccolo, rubbing his scalp, amazed when the pain began to fade away, "Thank you, Piccolo." The Namek gave a nod, "No problem, kid. I'm glad I got to you when I did, you looked like you had major skull damage." Nodding in agreement Trunks rubbed the back of his neck to relieve tension when a verbal argument finally reached their ears. "Oh no.." the demi-Saijin whispered, preparing himself to get up and jump into the dispute, but Piccolo stopped him. "It's not time yet," the green-skinned man said, handing a senzu bean to him, "Give that to Tien. I've got Krillin and Gohan."

"Like you're any better than me, Vegeta!" Zarbon countered, calmly approaching the last two full-blooded Saijins. "Well at least I don't degrade myself by fucking that whore of a poor excuse of an earth woman!" Vegeta replied, seething, his throat rumbling with a rising growl. "Oh that's IT!" Zarbon screamed, gathering his ki. "Stop it!" Goku shouted, intent upon stopping the insanity which was already set into motion. "Stay out of it you third-class!" Vegeta hissed, stepping forward and accepting the challenge, "What's the the matter Zarbon? You hate the truth?" The alien launched himself at the prince and they began duking it out, Goku amazed to find Vegeta amazing equal to Zarbon's strength. As Vegeta punched Zarbon in the stomach Goku suddenly remembered something Vegeta had once told him, 'A Saijin's strength multiplies greatly after a battle. More so if they are nearly killed.' Vegeta had almost died twice in the past few days and he had had a battle as well. As far as he recalled, Vegeta's power level was supposed to be somewhere near three hundred thousand. On the other hand, he now remembered that that was before he died at Frieza's hand, so it was essentially more than that when he had arrived on earth. Near death about doubled one's power level, so Vegeta was probably over one million easily. However, being as that Goku was a Super Saijin and Vegeta was not, this did not explain how the prince was so powerful and how he was able to defeat Cell in three blows all the while lagged by a fatal injury. It just didn't add up.

"The truth??" Zarbon laughed as a punch found it's way to Vegeta's jaw, "How about this for truth, Vegeta: You're so proud of a nearly extinct race and you don't even care about it's surviving member! You're so self-absorbed that no one can stand to be around you! You hear me, Vegeta!? Every time Frieza beat you I had to hear that freak of nature bitch about you and how he saved your lame ass from being gang-banged!!" The prince suddenly froze in place as he realized Zarbon did know a truth. A fist connected with his stomach and Vegeta stumbled back, his eyes displaying a certain distantness about them. "I knew since the start you were no good!" Zarbon screamed, socking Vegeta's jaw hard, a cracking sound emitting from the smaller man. Punches and kicks flew at him, each successfully hitting the prince as he barely attempted to block the attacks, 'Oh god..he knows....He knows.' His eyes looked at the enraged man before him, a smirk curving on his busted lip. "C'mon Zarbon! Is that the best you can do? Pathetic! I guess fucking that bitch has made you weak!" Vegeta taunted, half of chuckle coming from his throat as Zarbon continued his assault. Fist after fist smashed against his face, pain biting him like the harsh sting of ice, an odd laugh erupting from deep within him only serving to enrage Zarbon further. The sickening - satisfying - sound of his nose being broken filled Vegeta's ears, blood pouring forth in thick streams, splattering here and there, flowing down his face in a haphazard path; his laugh came harder, reminding him bitterly of the android he had killed only a few minutes prior. Vegeta spat, tossing his head around to rid his face of extra blood. Still laughing the prince said, "You can do better than that..!" Feet and hands met his flesh, leaving behind angry marks of purple and blue in their wake, but Vegeta didn't falter in the slightest. His teasing continued. "Pathetic," he would murmur. "Weak," he would mention. "Predictable," he would say with an air of confidence.

"STOP IT!" Goku's voice finally screamed at the top of his lungs, "Both of you STOP! NOW!" Vegeta merely gave the younger Saijin a blank look before saying, "Fuck off." Anger and rejection swelled inside of Goku like a shadow monster lurking for the perfect moment to pounce. The monster found it's moment finally happening as denial left the black-haired man, hope deserting him. For the first time that Goku could think of, he let his emotions - his negative emotions - get the best of him. Before he realized what was exactly happening words were spilling over his lips. Words that had lingered in the back of his mind, that had been kept under safe guard by denial and hope, but as quickly as those had fled, the words fled from his mouth as well, "Zarbon's right. You're a self-absorbed asshole, and that's why no one cares about you." Vegeta instantly froze in place, his face completely void of emotion though his eyes betrayed his calm exterior. Goku gasped at his own statement, instantly cringing at the lie he had spat, "Oh my god, Vegeta...Vegeta, I didn't..." Shocked, Goku saw a small smile come to Vegeta's face. He turned away from the younger man to look at Zarbon, "We were fighting, were we not?" The alien blinked, a bit unnerved by Vegeta's new demeanor, "Yes, we were." Vegeta wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt, "So hit me." Zarbon narrowed his eyes, finding something different in Vegeta now than just a moment ago, "No." Vegeta took a step forward, "Are you scared? Hit me." Zarbon shook his head, having the oddest sensation that Vegeta was no longer standing in front of him like he was, "I'm not scared, but I'm not going to hit you. That'd be pointless." Vegeta licked his lips, savoring the blood he lapped up, "No, it wouldn't. C'mon, Zarbon..hit me." Another step forward, Vegeta's voice dropping low, "Hurt me, Zarbon." Zarbon looked the Prince of Saijins over carefully, his mind assessing the new situation. Stepping forward, getting closer, a whisper was spoken, "Rape me, Zarbon."

The alien found no words in response, merely stumbling back away from the brunette, realization hitting him like a ton of bricks, 'He wants me to hit him because he likes it! That sick bastard is getting off on the pain!' Vegeta's throat rumbled in a seductive purr, "Hurt me like you've always wanted to, Zarbon. Hurt me worse than you've ever done before." Goku couldn't stand Vegeta speaking like he was any longer, "No! Stop it!" Vegeta's gaze turned to the larger man, his purr fading slightly, "Do you want to rape me, Kakkarot? It'd be rather fitting, don't you think?" Goku wanted to cover his ears and block out the words that Vegeta spoke, "No! I'd never do such a thing to you!" Vegeta's calm exterior shattered as he glared at Goku with the same hatred he had shown Cell, "You've already started, Kakkarot. You are a traitor. I told you. I told you one day you would turn on me. Like everyone else. You'd turn." Vegeta swallowed, his voice strained, "You'd turn on me and hate me like everyone else. You'd wiggle your way in past my defenses and strike me down!" Goku felt his eyes burn, his fists clenched, "That's not true! Vegeta, I-" Vegeta's ki flared to life, "You lied to me! You lied to me, and I trusted you!" From deep within the prince he could sense a sort of flood gate that belonged to his soul, which had always been locked down and carefully guarded, and could feel this burning tear away at the boundaries. Vegeta screamed at the top of his lungs, anger and vehemence lingering on every syllable, "I TRUSTED YOU!!" An earth-shattering roar burst from Vegeta as the last of his defenses was stripped and the flood gate was destroyed in one quick swipe. He felt power - immense power - radiating off of his body like heat from a flame, beautiful but deadly. At last he realized that there was silence save for the wind and other natural noises. He steadied his breathing, numbly wondering why everyone looked so transfixed.

Goku took a hesitant step forward, Vegeta flinching at his movement. "T-Take another senzu, Vegeta..?" Goku asked, though it seemed more like a request or a suggestion. The prince closed his eyes, feeling his anger dwindle as he finally thought about what had transpired without eyes clouded by hate. "Fine," the brunette whispered, easily catching the bean as Piccolo threw it to him. "Vegeta.." Goku tried again to make conversation, to make up for the instant he hadn't carefully thought over his words. The results of that were unbelievable, but all the same he had more things to think about at the moment. "Don't," Vegeta begged, his voice a strained whisper, his eyes closing to hold back tears of regret. The younger Saijin stepped forward, he himself speaking in a whisper, "I'm sorry, Vegeta. I didn't mean what I said.I was angry at the time. Vegeta.." The prince pushed the taller man away, "Shut up, I said! I don't want to hear it! Don't you understand!? I hate you!" Goku slowly pulled Vegeta into an embrace, "I don't hate you, Vegeta. I don't hate you." The brunette struggled though it seemed as if his strength had been sapped from him, "Shut up, already! I don't want to hear your lies, traitor!" The taller Saijin wrapped his arms around Vegeta fully, pressing his face against Vegeta's shoulder for a moment before speaking again, "Remember the time we went to the beach and the girl touched your tail so I told her to piss off?" Vegeta's body tensed completely, his voice barely audible, "Shut up..." Goku murmured softly into the prince's ear, "Remember when we went for breakfast and they wanted to fine you for smoking in the restroom and you told them off?" Vegeta's eyes closed and he shook his head. "Remember when we went ice skating?" Goku asked lightly, his hands caressing Vegeta's back, trying to soothe the smaller man. Vegeta's voice sounded like a cross between a sob and a laugh, "You kept falling on your ass...and I....laughed...." It seemed that this wasn't far from the truth as Vegeta's eyes glistened, and an odd, uncertain smile graced his face.

Goku smiled back, caring and affection flowing from his gaze like an unyieldable river. "I hate you," Vegeta choked on a sob, "I hate you so much." Goku merely smiled, his hands rubbing the brunette's back gently. It was too much for the Saijin prince to stand; he broke, tears flowing freely, "I hate you make me happy." Vegeta's face contorted to look of extreme pain and grief as sobs escaped his throat, "I hate you! I hate you!" Goku pulled him close, Vegeta grasping onto the tattered orange uniform, his face burying into Goku's shoulder in shame, "Why? Why do you have to make me happy...?" Goku buried his face in Vegeta's dark brown locks, inhaling deeply, 'Don't ask me why, Vegeta..I cannot answer that. If you wish to ask anything at all, I wish it to be for us to be friends.' Vegeta shook his head, gasping for air between sobs, 'Kakkarot, you don't deserve me.' Goku sighed silently, his grip tightening around the older Saijin, 'No, my prince..I don't deserve you. I've failed you. I should have noticed you earlier. It took Trunks for me to get interested, not that I regret it.' Vegeta laughed bitterly, or attempted to, 'I never understood you.' Goku finally glanced over at the small group of friends that had participated in the battle with Cell. He looked at Trunks who gave him a supportive smile. He then turned to Piccolo, who gave him a nod. Offering a smile, it was the last any of them saw as Goku suddenly flickered out, taking Vegeta with him.

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